Thursday, 30 June 2016

Clarity Challenge June - Masculine

Stamp and ink artwork with ammonite

The ClarityStamp challenge for June is masculine, in honour of Father's Day. I missed that for my entry, so have gone for my hubby's birthday present instead. (His birthday's towards the end of July, he's never had an early present before. In fact, I haven't finished last year's yet - oops!)

The basic design was my idea for last month's challenge (Anything Goes) but I didn't get round to making it for that. In fact, it could have entered the April challenge as well, as there is copious masking involved.

I started with a sheet of the 8x10 stencil card, and marked out a grid with pencil, 5 by 6 squares. After measuring and marking the odd distances, it occurred to me I could have trimmed the card a little and made my life a lot easier!

I then started the stamping, using black archival. I used a lot of different stamps - and I got through most of my stencils, and nearly every colour of distress ink before I was done. So I won't try to list them all. The main stamps I wanted to include were the ammonite and fossil. I got these ages ago, as back issues from the stamp club, as hubby did his PhD on ammonites. But haven't used them before now - so that's my personal stash challenge achieved.

Fossil, houses and seaweed stamps, with masking fluid

I used pebeo masking fluid over the stamped images, and built up the design.

Ammonite, trees and leaf stamps added, with masking fluid

There's no real picture here, it's abstract (feels a bit weird and pretentious to say that!) but there's a general scheme - underground on bottom left, underwater on the right, then above ground and the sky at the top.

Subtle background colour added

I added a little colour across the whole picture as a base, before working on smaller areas. Spot the June stamp club dragonfly added in! I had thought about a butterfly in the sky, or the house martin, but neither was quite right, so this was a welcome addition to the collection - the benefits of waiting till the last minute!

Ink colour added by grid area, masking with sticky notes

I added more colour and pattern area by area, using the distress inks and stencil brushes. This is where the grid I started with comes in. I varied the colour/intensity and pattern in each square, using sticky notes to mask. This was actually a lot of fun, there wasn't much of a plan, I just added colour and pattern (using stencils and stamps) as I thought looked right in each area.

(Did you notice the extra fossil at the bottom? After I added the base colour, I decided I needed another one.)

Ink colour added by grid area, further progress

Here's another progress picture. I did the bottom right last as I was waiting for the masking fluid to dry on the new fossil.

Inking of the background complete

And the end of the inking.

Time for the reveal - removing the masking fluid over all the stamping.

Inking of the background complete, masking fluid removed

This is where I got a bit cautious about what to do next, I didn't want to ruin what I'd done!

I started with distress markers - the sets my hubby has had laid down for me for months are finally mine, as it was my birthday this week!

Distress marker added to leaves and houses

I used these for the leaves around the top, and the roofs, windows and doors of the houses.

At this point last night I went off to bed to ruminate on what to do next - I wanted to add colour to the fossils, ammonite and sea weed, but didn't want them to disappear into the background too much. I had various ideas, but hadn't decided what to do.

Pencil colour added to seaweed and ammonite, plus mica powder

I came back to it today a bit more decisive. I used my new faber castell pencils - they are so lovely! I had deliberately positioned the ammonite across gridlines, so I could colour it in sections. Tying the colours in with the square it was in worked really well I thought. I also bit the bullet and added some mica powder (mixed with water and applied with a paintbrush) to some of the shaded areas, which doesn't show that well in photos, but gives an extra shine, and makes it stand out from the background.

Ammonite, fossil and dragonfly complete

I followed a similar patten on the fossils - including painting some of the black area with gold mica. The parts of the different fossils that fall into the same square match, which ties it in nicely.

The other thing I have changed is the dragonfly wings. The paper tore a little when I removed the masking fluid - the ink may not have been fully dry when I put it on - and I tried to disguise it with a black pen and pencils, then mica. It wasn't terrible, but I wasn't happy either. So I stamped the image again, in dusty concord distress ink, and cut out the wings and glued them on over the originals. Maybe not what I'd have done if I hadn't torn the paper, but I do like it, the wings look more delicate now.

And, look at it closely, and from afar, and squint and - deep breath - I think it's done!

Just need to mount it - a thin black border, then a wider mustard one. And, I initialled it in the bottom corner - owning my work!

And I've finished!

Stamp and ink artwork with ammonite

Hubby seems impressed, thank goodness, even though it won't be a surprise!

I am also pleased with how it turned out. Maybe things that I would do differently next time, but for my first "artwork" of this complexity, I will settle for that.

P.S. Added after the deadline, I thought I'd share my inspiration, a piece of artwork I bought in Cambodia in 2011.

Cambodia artwork - figures and elephant

This is turn is inspired by the carvings at Angkor Wat and other temples, so the rectangles represent the stones of the walls.


  1. This is different I like good luck in the clarity challenge x

  2. Lucinda, I love your abstract concept, it looks sublime! Best wishes in Clarity's Masculine challenge and thanks for taking part. ;~}

  3. Gosh you have put an awful lot of work into this card. The end result is wonderful. Good luck x

    1. Thanks Lynne. It took a few evenings - glad you like the result. It'll be up to hubby, as it's his, but I'm hoping this is one to go up on the wall!

  4. Wow Lucinda - what a lot of work, but so worth all the time you spent making your piece of art - it's great and perfect for this month's Challenge. Good luck x

    1. Thank you, it's a bit if an indulgence to spend so much time on something but lovely to be able to do now and again!

  5. This is fabulous Lucinda, I love the grid effect (I might have to pinch that one if you don't mind!).
    Good luck in the challenge xx

    1. Thanks Amanda, and pinch away. I got the idea from an artwork I bought in Cambodia, that did something a bit similar, I might add it into the blog post now I'm not racing a deadline!

  6. Lucinda this is fab, and so appropriate for your husband. thanks for joining the Clarity challenge this month. Good luck! x

    1. Thanks Angela, did you spot some of my Open Day purchases!?!


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